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Finno-Karelia in the Soviet Union (1940-1956)

Karelo-Finskaâ SSR / Karjalais-Suomalainen SNT

Last modified: 2021-08-26 by rob raeside
Keywords: karelo-finnish | finno-karelia | world war ii | proposal | fir | tree | hammer and sickle (yellow) | hammer and sickle: solid star | hammer and sickle: no star (yellow) | k.-s.s.n.t. | k.-f.s.s.r. |
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Карело-Финская ССР / Karjalais-Suomalainen SNT

K-FSSR in 1950’s
image by Mark Sensen, 18 Mar 1996 | two-sided
See also:


The Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia were able only to offer token resistance to Soviet occupation in 1940, but the fourth Baltic state, Finland, fought back desperately and, although lost 10% of its territory, survived as an independent state. When the Soviets invaded Finland in 1940, a Provisional Finnish People’s Government was created in Karelia as a precursor to Soviet rule being established in Finland and the establishment of a Finnish SSR of which Karelia would be part. A Finn-Karelian SSR was in fact proclaimed, in March 1940. However, when it became apparent that the Soviets had failed in their aim of occupying Finland, this was downgraded to an Autonomous Republic.
Stuart Notholt, 17 Sep 1995

In march 1940 the Karelian ASSR was promoted to the Karelo-Finnish SSR (intended as a predecessor of a Finnish SSR, wich never was established because Finaland couldn’t be conquered). A flag was introduced according the Soviet-model: red with a yellow hammer and sickle (but without a star) and the name in both Finnish (Karelian?) and Russian.
Mark Sensen, 18 Mar 1996

The Karelian-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic (Karjalais-Suomalainen Sosialistinen NeuvostoTasavalta) was established 31 March 1940 and combined the territory of the former Karelian ASSR with areas taken from Finland in the Winter War (the Karelian Isthmus, however, was joined to the Leningrad Oblast).
Jan Oskar Engene, 29 May 1997

Karelian-Finnish S.S.R., Summer 1940

K-FSSR in 1940’s
image by Mark Sensen, 01 Jun 1996

Finnish and Russian:

  • Karjalais-Suomalainen SNT
    (Karjalais-Suomalainen Sosialistinen Neuvostotasavalta)
  • Карело-Финская ССР
    (Карело-Финская Советская Социалистическая Республика)
(Inscriptions according to the constitutions; explanations for abbreviations and other remarks in brackets. Accuracy is not guaranteed, especially when it comes to exact dates, the spelling of the Karelian language or the dots in abbreviations.)
Marco Pribilla, 07 Dec 2002

The flag is again red, with a hammer and sickle and under this the name of the SSR written in Karelian/Finnish and Russian all in yellow. The illustration in Paskov [pas94] has a red star outlined in gold above the script and hammer and sickle. According to Paskov, this was the 1940 flag of the KFSSR.
Jan Oskar Engene, 29 May 1997

Red with in the upper hoist yellow name in sanserif in both Latin (Karjalais-Suomalainen SNT) and cyrillic (Карело-Финская ССР). Little yellow hammer and sickle above.
Mark Sensen, 01 Jun 1996

As adopted by the Supreme Soviet of the Karelo-Finnish SSR on 9 June 1940, Article 118 of the K-FSSR Constitution read:

The State Flag of the Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic shall consist of a red cloth in whose left corner near the staff at the top, shall be placed a gold sickle and hammer and the inscription «Karelo-Finskaia SSR» in the Finnish and Russian languages. The proportion of width to length shall be 1:2.
Dave Martucci, 06 Sep 1996

Karelian-Finnish S.S.R., 1947 (proposal)

Proposal of 1947
image by Jan Oskar Engene, 09 Dec 2002

An interesting proposal, dated 1947, for a KFSSR is also shown in Paskov [pas94]. While the flag is still based on the Soviet red flag model, the proposal added a line of black stylized trees on blue that would have made it stand out among SSR flags.
Jan Oskar Engene, 29 May 1997

The artwork in [pas94] shows a solid gold star in both proposals. But checking Laurla’s own Itä-Karjalan tunnuksia [lau97], I found images with red stars fimbriated in gold — as the author of this book was the one who submitted the 1976 proposal, I rather trust this source!
Jan Oskar Engene, 26 Jun 2001

The Latin (Finnish) inscription on the flag should read "K.-S.S.N.T." (for Karjalais-Suomalainen Sosialistinen NeuvostoTasavalta) instead of "K.-S.N.N.T.", as given by some sources.
Marco Pribilla, 07 Dec 2002

Could this 1947 proposal have been (one of) the inspiration(s) leading to the more imaginative and distinct SSR flag designs adopted in 1949-1954? If it weren’t for the inscription (omnipresent in contemporary soviet subnational flags), it could have been one of the new lot.
António Martins, 20 Jun 2001

Karelian-Finnish S.S.R., 1953

K-FSSR in 1950’s
image by Mark Sensen, 18 Mar 1996

Instead [of the refered proposal,] a more conventional flag was adopted for the KFSSR in 1953. This was red, with two narrow stripes of blue over green along the bottom. A red star outlined in gold star, along with gold hammer and sickle was set in the canton. No lettering appeared on the flag.
Jan Oskar Engene, 29 May 1997

This flag was the only one, among the 16 soviet SSR flags, to have a third non-white color, adding to the scarlet background the unique combination of light blue and green. It may have been influenced by the 1947 proposal, and certainly influenced the current Karelian flag.
António Martins, 29 May 2001

In the early 1950s like the other SSRs a flag was adopted horizontal red-blue-green (19:5:6) with yellow hammer, sickle and yellow outlined star.
Mark Sensen, 18 Mar 1996

Regarding the Karelo-Finnish SSR, in the K-FSSR Constitution of 1953 (strangely, no exact date is given in [tfb]), Article 118 was changed to read:

The State Flag of the Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic shall be a cloth, consisting of three colored strips horizontally placed: The upper being red; the middle being light blue, comprising one-sixth the width of the flag, and the lower, green, comprising one-fifth the width of the flag. On the red strip, in the left upper corner near the staff, shall be placed a gold sickle and hammer and, above them, a red five-pointed star edged in gold. The proportion of the width of the flag to its length shall be 1:2.
Dave Martucci, 06 Sep 1996

Reverse of the flag

Back of the flag
image by Mark Sensen, 18 Mar 1996 | two-sided reverse

No hammer, sickle and star on the reverse side.
Mark Sensen, 25 May 1997

Officially reverse looked like obverse without star and hammer-sickle. But in fact I never saw these flags without star, hammer-sickle. Real flags (all 15) usually were either with reverse analogous to obverse (but with star and hammer-and-sickle near the hoist) or with reverse = mirrored obverse.
Victor Lomantsov, 30 Nov 2002

Coat of arms

Inscriptions on the Coat-of-Arms of Soviet Karelia according to the constitution of Summer 1940 — in Finnish (proper) and Russian (Completely new emblem):

  • Karjalais-Suomalainen SNT
  • Р.С.Ф.С.Р.
  • Карело-Финская ССР
  • Kaikkien maiden proletaarit, liittykää yhteen!
  • Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь!
Marco Pribilla, 07 Dec 2002

Anything below this line was not added by the editor of this page.